Potential to make money in South Sudan is ‘enormous’

New company will help Israelis invest before Chinese, Europeans "take these opportunities."

South Sudan flag_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
South Sudan flag_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
There is a “tremendous” amount of money to be made helping the nascent state of South Sudan get off the ground, an Israeli businessman told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Meir Greiver, 73, said the sky is the limit to the moneymaking potential of the world’s youngest country, and founded the South Sudan Development Company, LTD in March in order to grease the wheels for Israeli businessmen looking to invest in the country.
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“Very simply put, the country is open and ready to be built from the ground up. The [ruling] North never invested in the South, didn’t develop it, and now there’s a great deal to do there,” he said.
Greiver said he founded the company using connections with South Sudanese that he made over the more than 22 years that he worked as a businessman in South Africa. In a press release issued on Monday, the company said it will count among its shareholders former members of the South Sudan Liberation Front.
The same release said “years of official neglect of South Sudan’s infrastructure by the ruling North has left the new country with a desperate need for infrastructure, roads, airport, hospitals, electrical infrastructure and more. The United States, Europe, and the World Bank are planning on funneling very large amounts of money to the development of South Sudan, and the country has a large amount of oil and natural resources of its own that are waiting to be utilized and that will help the country move forward.
Greiver seems to think big, and the way he tells it, there is a vast array of economic opportunities just waiting for Israeli businessmen willing to fly to Juba and invest their money.
“The potential to make money in many different fields is enormous. They have gold, uranium. Some also say there is some aluminum. It is absolutely a place where things can be done.”
He added, “Also, because the salaries are so very low, I think that many Israeli businessmen who send their manufacturing and textile work to China could do it there instead, that’s one example.”
He said his company will not only work as a go-between for the businesspeople, but will also try to identify interests that are looking for investment and development. He also said that with the world’s eyes turned on South Sudan, his company will try to pave the way for Israeli investors to head to Juba “before the Chinese, Europeans and others get in and take these opportunities.”
From his experience with South Sudanese, Greiver said Israelis have no reason to hide their nationality, saying “we are very well embraced there, not only because of their religious belief that we are the chosen people, but also because Israel helped them in the ’60s and ’70s,” in reference to Israel’s support of South Sudan during its civil war with the north.
When asked about suspicions that Israeli businessmen and other westerners are eagerly waiting to come in and exploit one of the world’s poorest corners, he said “Look, I don’t only want to do this for the sake of some higher purpose, I also want to make money. But it’s not about exploitation; it’s all about give and take.”
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